Thursday, January 28, 2010

A golden secret

Today I found summer.

Sweyn and I had some remote outhouses to clean, so we decided to join all-out outhouse assault! We gathered up our rolls of TP, paper towels, shovel, cleaning solution and brushes and headed out in a depressing fog.

At Imnaha, a tiny outpost, we took a left and bounced along on the rocky Dug Bar road, which winds its way eventually down to the Snake River. Our goal was before that, though, so we stopped along the Imnaha River where our nemesis, the stinky outhouse, waited.

This is where a trail comes in. You can follow the Imnaha, wide and sparkling, five miles down to the Snake, in the heart of Hells Canyon. Above us brown, dry mountains reached to the hard blue sky. The very top was glazed with a touch of snow. But down here, it was sixty degrees. We sat and ate our lunch by the chuckling river while a couple of steelhead fishermen fruitlessly cast lines.

This is where summer goes. All these weeks trapped in fog and snow four thousand feet higher, and all along there has been this golden spot. It takes some work to get down here, but now I know what the locals do. Get fed up with winter and go lower, to the Imnaha.

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